4 Tips to Remember After a Data Breach

Data breaches don’t just happen to large companies like Target and Home Depot, they are happening to businesses of all sizes, and let’s face it—smaller businesses are easier targets. In fact, 71% of data breaches happen to businesses with less than 100 employees. It’s no secret that small and midsize businesses (SMBs) spend less on cybersecurity than larger organizations. Cybercriminals often target SMBs because they have a lot of personally identifiable information that can be used for identity theft, tax fraud and other financial crimes. SMBs collect customer, employee and vendor names, addresses, social security numbers, dates of birth, driver’s licenses and insurance information. This information is everything a criminal needs to commit identity theft and other cybercrimes.

71% of data breaches happen to businesses with less than 10 employees.

Data breaches are expensive and can damage a company’s reputation. Legal, IT, breach notification and identity monitoring expenses can add up quickly. After a breach, customers often leave a business due to lack of trust, and negative publicity keeps new customers away. Breaches cause business owners and employees emotional stress and anxiety, and some never recover. In fact, 60% of small businesses go out of business after a data breach.

60% of small businesses go out of business after a data breach.

If you do happen to find yourself on the receiving end of a data breach, make sure to call your IT service provider right away and let them know as many details about the breach as you can. Then, remember to do the following:

  1. Change your login credentials as quickly as possible;
  2. Be wary of any emails you receive;
  3. Monitor your credit report carefully, and
  4. Monitor your bank and credit card statements carefully.

Login Credentials

Your login credentials should be changed as quickly as possible. The sooner you get around to doing this, the better off you’ll be. If you change your logins before anyone gets inside your account, then obviously they won’t be able to get inside your account at all. Even if they manage to crack your credentials, it won’t do them any good. Those credentials will be old by that time. Ensure your new credentials are strong and unique to each account and NEVER reuse passwords. 

Emails

When criminals hack their way into a database, they can stand to take a lot of information, some valuable and some not. But one of the things they will likely gather is your email address. And surprisingly, if they have your email address, they don’t need much else to send a rather legit phishing email your way. But your email address isn’t the only thing they might have. In all likelihood, they probably have a few personal details, as well. Because of this, you need to be wary of any emails you receive from a company after they’ve been hacked. Think twice about clicking links, downloading attachments, or fulfilling any requests – even if it looks 100% legitimate.

Credit Report

Again, hackers can stand to take a lot of information about you after a breach. If they have enough of the right information, they can potentially steal your identity. After a breach, monitor your credit report carefully. Depending on the severity of the breach and the type of company breached, there might be free credit monitoring services offered. However, if there aren’t, you can always create a free account on Credit Karma.

Bank and Credit Card Statements

If you any have financial information tied to your account, then you’ll have to keep a close eye on your bank statements, as well. You may even need to request a replacement for any credit card used or saved on the site. Keep in mind, this doesn’t just apply for websites like Target and Amazon, where purchasing products is the sole purpose. It could be a site like LinkedIn, who gives you the option to pay for a higher-level membership.

How can I avoid a data breach?

To combat ransomware and other cyber threats tied to data breaches, businesses of all sizes should invest wisely in solutions that continuously discover and patch security vulnerabilities. We also recommend businesses invest more in their people, including training and certification for IT security personnel and ongoing security awareness training for all employees. Never underestimate the value of your human firewall! For the best in today’s data security solutions, contact Simplify Tech!


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